On her blog post this afternoon, Seattle Times’ women’s basketball reporter Jayda Evans passes along the NCAA’s announcement that its women’s basketball honcho Sue Donohoe is stepping down, just days before the start of the season. (Longtime contributor to women’s hoops resigns.)
I don’t have any inside information about the timing of the announcement, but it contains the usual ambiguous language, including “personal and family reasons.” There’s also a somewhat defiant quote from Donohoe: “I have tried to give the best of who I am to this game.”
What caught my eye was this graph in Jayda’s post:
The NCAA (women’s basketball) tournament has grown to 64 teams, record television ratings and seen slightly more parity among the field. But women's college basketball remains a non-revenue sport as a whole with stark distinctions between administrators who are will to invest in the sport as the leader of women's athletics on campuses and those who are not.
Basketball as THE leader?
As noted in my post earlier today (When the Pac-12 is less than a dozen), women’s basketball was once played by 13% more NCAA schools than the second-most popular women’s sport (at the time, that was women’s tennis.) Back in 1982, women’s hoops was played by 15% more schools than volleyball.
|Washington's Bianca Rowland and|
Krista Vansant celebrate a point
[Volleyblog Seattle photo by Leslie Hamann]
Today, volleyball is the second most-played women’s NCAA sport, and has almost caught basketball, trailing by just 4%. In truth, basketball should now be considered a co-leader, and it won’t re-gain “the” leader status anytime soon.
That fact is readily apparent at the University of Washington, where the volleyball program zoomed past women’s basketball in 2004, and has never looked back. Since that season, UW volleyball has racked up higher average attendance, a much higher winning percentage, much more postseason success, more All-Americans and many more professional players than its basketball counterpart.
Although it’s not often acknowledged by UW or by regional media, volleyball is, in fact, the leader of women’s athletics on the Washington campus.
Nothing wrong with that.